Soda gets most the blame for all the added sugar pumping through our children’s veins, but new data shows the blame should lie elsewhere.
Children consume an average of 322 calories a day from added sugars. That’s a mind blowing 16% of their daily calories from extra sugars lurking in their diets, but according to the National Center for Health Statistics, 59% of that added sugar comes from food, not soda. But don’t keep you eye off the bubbly stuff just yet; soft drinks are still the largest single source of added sugars in our kid’s diets.
Added sugars come in the form of table sugar, brown sugar, high fructose corn syrup, maple syrup, honey, molasses and other caloric sweeteners in prepared and processed foods like cakes, candy, cookies, muffins, sodas, jams, jellys and ice cream. This study did not include natural sugars like those in fruit and 100% fruit juice.
A diet high in added sugars has been linked to obesity, high blood pressure and other risk factors for heart disease and stroke. The American Heart Association advises that most females consume no more than 100 calories, or about 6 teaspoons, a day from added sugars, and for males, no more than 150 calories, or about 9 teaspoons, per day.
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The newest yearly score for the nutrition of United States citizens confirms what we’ve all known but most of us love to ignore – the American way of eating leaves much to be desired in terms of nutrition. According the the CDC, we are not eating enough green vegetables or whole grains, but going overboard on the sweets. This validates what we’ve all suspected, especially with the proliferation of fast food restaurants and super size combos available with nary a spinach salad in sight. Maybe calling attention to this will help us brush up on our nutrition needs for 2012.
Our scores over the past several years have remained dismally low and this year was no exception. The average American overall diet score did not top 60 points out of 100 on the Healthy Eating Index. This index, created in 2005 to determine how nutritiously America ate and to look for ways to improve diets. The Index rates us on our ingestion of specific food groups, including whole fruits, dark green and orange vegetables, whole grains, milk, meat and beans, oils, fats, sodium, alcohol, and added sugar. In the most recent reporting, women tended to score significantly higher than their male counterparts, particularly in the areas of fruits and vegetables. Older people, as well as those who completed higher education levels, also had better scores.
Bethene Ervin, PhD, RD, reported these facts in a National Health Statistics Report and says that the scores indicate that most Americans’ diets need improvement. At the conclusion of her report, Ervin said that most Americans need to add whole grains, leafy dark greens and fruits to their diet and reduce the intake of sugars and alcohol.
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By Melissa Breyer for Care2.com
The federal Dietary Guidelines for Americans suggest an upper limit of 25 percent of daily calories come from added sugar. Doesn’t that seem really high? If you have an extra 500 calories to spare, wouldn’t it be wise to spend it on something with some nutritive value? Aside from a waste of calories, a new study shows that adults who consume high levels of sugar have significantly elevated levels of several risk factors for heart disease.
The study, conducted by a group of researchers at the University of California, Davis, and in Japan suggests that the generally-accepted guidelines for sugar may be too lenient and should be reconsidered. The results of their study were reported online in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, and will appear in the journal’s October print edition.
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Maybe it was the recession or maybe the public started listening to the health professionals’ pleas, but either way, added sugar consumption has actually decreased in the United States.
Research has been continually held to track the added sugar consumption in this country. These stats refer to extra sugar used to sweeten foods, not naturally occurring sugars like fructose in fruit. One of the biggest culprits of added sugar consumption is found in soda. The quarter drop in sugar consumption was due majorly to the decrease in soda consumption.
The experts believe that the initiatives to remove sodas and sweetened drinks from schools had a large effect on the numbers. Also, the multiple campaigns to make consumers aware of the extreme amounts of sugar in small amounts of soda are believed to have been effective.
The study also leads the experts to believe that people were simply not able to afford as many calories as they were in previous years due to the economy. Hopefully, as the recession ends, this will be one number that will stay low and not increase.
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